• synonyms


[foh-lee-ey-shuh n]
  1. the act or process of putting forth leaves.
  2. the state of being in leaf.
  3. Botany.
    1. the arrangement of leaves within a bud.
    2. the arrangement of leaves on a plant.
  4. leaves or foliage.
  5. Printing. the consecutive numbering of the folios or leaves, as distinguished from pages, of a manuscript or book.
  6. the total number of such leaves.
  7. Petrology. a form of lamination produced in rocks by metamorphism.
  8. ornamentation with foliage, or an arrangement of foliage.
  9. Architecture.
    1. ornamentation with foils.
    2. ornamentation with representations of foliage.
  10. formation into thin sheets.
  11. the application of foil to glass to make a mirror.
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Origin of foliation

First recorded in 1615–25; foliate + -ion
Related formssub·fo·li·a·tion, nounsu·per·fo·li·a·tion, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for foliation

Historical Examples of foliation

  • But the element of foliation must enter somewhere, or the style is imperfect.

    The Stones of Venice, Volume II (of 3),

    John Ruskin

  • After the Early English comes the Decorated period, in which the mouldings and foliation become fuller, broader, and more ornate.

  • The recesses on the sides of the other cusps indicate their single or double lines of foliation.

  • The upper windows, for instance, in the east end of Westminster Abbey are imperfect for want of foliation.

  • If there be no foliation anywhere, the building is assuredly imperfect Gothic.

British Dictionary definitions for foliation


  1. botany
    1. the process of producing leaves
    2. the state of being in leaf
    3. the arrangement of leaves in a leaf bud; vernation
  2. architect
    1. ornamentation consisting of foliage
    2. ornamentation consisting of cusps and foils
  3. any decoration with foliage
  4. the consecutive numbering of the leaves of a book
  5. geology the arrangement of the constituents of a rock in leaflike layers, as in schists
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for foliation


1620s, from French foliation or formed in English from Latin foliatus (see foliate (v.)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

foliation in Science


  1. The set of layers visible in many metamorphic rocks as a result of the flattening and stretching of mineral grains during metamorphism.
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Related formsfoliated adjective
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.